Company History

For more than a century, Columbus Life has been committed to improving financial futures and providing real value to both independent producers and policyholders. That was the vision of our founder, Channing Webster ("Pop") Brandon, and it continues to serve us today.

Brandon envisioned a company that would set an example for the insurance industry by following the Golden Rule—"Do unto others, insofar as you are capable, as you would have them do unto you." When he incorporated Columbus Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1906, he wanted to provide "a square deal to the agent," guaranteeing payment for the agent's work and ensuring their right to build their own agencies. This concept—a company built by an independent producer, to serve the needs of other independent producers and ultimately their policyholders—was far-reaching and ahead of its time.

In 2016, Columbus Life celebrates its 110th anniversary with more than 3,000 independent financial professionals representing the company's products and services. We continue to refine and improve our products, strive for innovation and—above all—provide unparalleled, personal service to independent producers. By giving them the attention and support they need, they can give their clients the best service.

More than 110 years later, Mr. Brandon's vision is still alive and well. And as we consider how his legacy has brought us to where we are today, we think "Pop" would have approved.

Explore Columbus Life's History

1903
1906
1927
1941
1961
1972
1982
2006
2008
2012
1903

It started as an idea.

Displeased with "inequities" in the way policyowners and agents were being treated, Channing Webster Brandon began selling stock in a new life insurance company—the Columbus Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. Brandon (affectionately nicknamed "Pop"), started traveling all over Ohio, promoting his plans for life insurance that offered policyowners "the best insurance for the least money" and independent producers "a square deal" from the company.

Channing Webster Brandon
1906

Founded on November 17, 1906.

After meeting a strict State of Ohio requirement that $100,000 in "idle money" be set aside, Columbus Mutual Life Insurance Company was finally incorporated in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Brandon began company operations with a whopping $49.60! Columbus Mutual finally sold its first coverage two years later—a $5,000 ordinary life insurance policy—and had three agents selling its products.

Channing Webster Brandon and his first three sales agents
1927

Strength and stability in a changing world.

During Columbus Mutual's early days, our country experienced many struggles—World War I, several national epidemics and the Great Depression. The decision to start and maintain a life insurance company during those uncertain times was a bold one... but then, as now, life insurance companies were valued as a source of stability. So it was with Columbus Mutual—in 1927, we achieved our first $100 million of life insurance in force, and by the end of the Great Depression, in-force policies had increased by $10 million.

Policy claim payment records from the 1920's
1941

A new home in Columbus.

Thanks to steady growth, Columbus Mutual began construction on a new home office location in 1941. After selecting the old Central High School building in Columbus, we complied with an unusual requirement to "memorialize the good old days of Central High in a plaque." In 1996, after 55 years of service, this building once again became home to the halls of learning, as Capital University Law School.

New home office location in Columbus, Ohio
1961

New partnerships bring post-war growth.

The country experienced steady growth after World War II, and so too did Columbus Mutual—when a merger between Columbus Mutual and Ohio State Life Insurance Company was blocked in 1961, the two companies instead began a 19-year alliance. This marked a period of accelerated growth and modernization—we achieved a 17 percent compound growth rate in life insurance sales, and our first billion dollars of life insurance in force in the mid-1960s.

Celebration of first billion dollars
1972

Growth and modernization in the 1970s and 1980s.

Columbus Mutual doubled in size from 1968 to 1972, achieving $2 billion of insurance in force in 1972 and issuing its first individual life policy through the ALIS computer system in 1970. In 1980, Columbus Mutual doubled in size once again, achieving $4 billion of life insurance in force. Ranked in the top 8% of life insurance companies, Columbus Mutual celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1981 by achieving $1 billion in new sales.

ALIS computer system
1982

The move to Western & Southern Financial Group.

The Western and Southern Financial Group of Cincinnati acquired Columbus Mutual in 1982, and created a new company in 1989 – Columbus Life Insurance Company. Western & Southern invested significant capital into Columbus Life and positioned it for growth in an upscale marketplace. Columbus Life relocated its home office to Cincinnati in 1996, finalizing its transition to become part of one of the strongest life insurance groups in the world.

Western and Southern Financial Group home office location in Cincinnati, Ohio
2006

Cheers to 100 years!

Columbus Life celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006 with the City of Cincinnati (home of the national headquarters in Ohio) proclaiming November 17, 2006, as "Columbus Life Insurance Company Day." At this point in time, Columbus Life is represented by more than 3,000 independent financial professionals.

State and city certificates of recognition for 100 years of business in Cincinnati, Ohio
2008

A flight to quality.

In 2008, the U.S. government began to intervene in the U.S. financial system to avoid a crisis, as illustrated by the Federal Reserve's $200 billion loan program for the country's biggest banks. In a year of economic uncertainty, consumers sought financial products that featured stability and real guarantees. This flight to quality resulted in Columbus Life enjoying a near record in annuity sales with more than $74 million in new premium.

2012

Technology drives Columbus Life's future.

In 2012, Columbus Life introduced iGO®1, an intuitive electronic application that ensures that every application is in good order and speeds up the issue process. The next year, we also introduced two key mobile applications. Today, our Tax App continues to provide key calculators and tax tables, while our enhanced CLIC Mobile app gives independent producers updates on their pending business, and product quoting options.

1 iGO® is a registered trademark owned and used with permission by iPipeline.